One of the big arguments against more immigration or why it's so import to deport undocumented people right now is that they don't contribute enough in taxes to pay for the services they use. This seems like a pretty straight forward argument, they put in amount X and the schools, medical help, food assistance, subsidized housing, etc cost X+N, therefore there is a deficit of N.
Well, I was looking at the Department of Defense's website today. This is a link to the Fallen Warriors section of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is only the army's casualty list. But look at it. I can't say that everyone with a Hispanic last name is the son or daughter of an immigrant but probably a lot of them are. If you just look really quickly at the A's, or browse down to the G's, you can see that at least 20% of the casualties have Hispanic last names.
If even half of those people are the sons or daughters of immigrants then they are contributing far out of their proportion in terms of their population. Only around 12% of the U.S. population is Latino and a big chunk of that, I think 60% but I can't remember where I read that, is under 18 years old. A smaller percentage of that are immigrants. Yet it looks like 20% of the casualties of Iraq are Latino.
I know this isn't very scientific but I think it's a more realistic way to look at how much immigrants contribute to the U.S. Maybe in dollars immigrants cost us but it's these other things, like providing soldiers for the army, that probably have more of an impact on the U.S. economy and culture. I've got three cousins in Iraq right now. Maybe there was a time when my family didn't pay as much in taxes as the services they used, I doubt it but maybe, but I think my family as a whole is now contributing more than most families.